Wellington City Council's GIS—Now and in the Future

After more than two years, New Zealand's Wellington City Council (WCC) has completed development of its core GIS and has now embarked on a major data upgrade that will put its GIS on a very strong footing.

Architecturally, GIS sits at the very core of Wellington Council's IT infrastructure. With its extensive GIS database and associated tools, it is clear that in the future the council's central customer service and asset management processes will be spatially driven.

2 screen shots containing aerial photos of residential neighborhoods
A number of ArcView GIS extensions have been implemented to enhance the software's functionality to meet the council's requirements.

Comments Peng Aik Lim of the Eagle Technology Group, Esri's software distributor in New Zealand, "GIS is becoming the central information system in many local government and central government organizations in New Zealand. It is becoming part of the mainstream IT and IS such as accounting and OA systems."

The City built its GIS infrastructure around a variety of Esri applications including ArcInfo, ArcView GIS, ArcIMS, and MapObjects. It uses ArcSDE for data storage and retrieval from its Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise database. Another fundamental component of its GIS is the Core Property System, which was developed in-house and based on PowerBuilder, MapObjects, and ArcSDE.

The WCC has developed an Intranet Property Browser, based on ArcView IMS and ArcSDE, which displays cadastre data as well as water/wastewater services, building outlines, and fence lines down to 100-mm resolution orthophotographic imagery in black and white and color. This data is accessed via Geographic Business Solution's Image Engine 3.0 from the ArcSDE database.

"GIS will be the system that staff will use to serve customers seeking information," says Lim, "and to lodge spatial transactions such as land subdivisions, resource consent applications, and faults recording; and to generate geographic reports such as maps, charts, tables, and statistics from any desktop."

The Extensions

ArcView GIS has been deployed to high-end users and provides an easy-to-use interface to the council's spatial database. A number of ArcView GIS extensions have been implemented to enhance the software's functionality to meet the council's requirements.

An extension was developed that automates address searching, map production, feature labeling, loading of corporate data layers, and the loading of orthophotography. Further development of this extension will continue to customize ArcView GIS software's functionality for the user.

Another extension links ArcView GIS to Confirm, the council's text-based asset management system. This allows users to select an asset in one system and view it in the other. An extension has been developed to enable the same functionality to exist between ArcView GIS and FoxPMS, the property management system for council properties.

Additional ArcView GIS extensions are currently being developed for asset data management and the loading and analysis of traffic accident data. Standard Esri extensions such as ArcView Network Analyst, ArcView Spatial Analyst, and ArcView 3D Analyst are also actively used by WCC.

By utilizing the Sybase Replication Server, the council plans to make asset and contract management data available to ArcSDE users. This will enable the viewing of asset problems spatially and aid in the creation of future works programs, which can then be viewed within the GIS.

WCC is currently evaluating ArcSDE CAD Client for its CAD users and a Palm PC environment for council field staff and their contractors with the aim of providing them with an integrated GIS and asset management system solution for data capture.

The council has completed the conversion of its drainage network data to ArcSDE and is preparing to automate its water network. The council is also performing data capture activities to record the positions of footpaths, roadways, road centerlines, and public conveniences such as benches and waste bins. In addition they are updating existing curb, wall, fence, and building data. A program to capture park-related data is also underway. Traffic restrictions and other data sets are due for conversion shortly. The development of a Restrictions & Hazards GIS application has started with the inclusion of earthquake, tsunami, flooding, and fire risk data.

Other data sets that will soon be added to the existing base layers include a digital cadastral database, statistical data, 1-m contours, and a digital terrain model, all of which will be accessed through ArcSDE. When complete, this vast database will become the fundamental source of information for council staff to plan, analyze, and provide services to the public.

In the future, WCC will be implementing more GIS-based asset management systems and call-center management systems so that all necessary information is available to the operators when calls are received. In addition, as one of the leading authorities in New Zealand in the adoption of Internet technology to provide public access to information, the council plans to allow public access to some of its spatial data.

For more information, contact Eagle Technology Group, Auckland, New Zealand (tel.: 64-9-639-0600, fax: 64-9-639-0630, Web: www.eagle.co.nz).

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